Art & Design

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The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic Schools are a secure, friendly and faith-centred community where we seek to realise the full potential of all our family through the living love of Christ. All our work with children and their families, staff, governors, parishioners and the wider community is influenced by our core values which are: Compassion, Respect and Resilience.

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The purpose of our Arches Curriculum is to ensure that our children are successful in life and learning. The ‘Nine Arches’ Sankey Viaduct in Newton-le-Willows has been the inspiration for our curriculum.  The viaduct was built by George Stephenson between 1828 and 1830 and the bridge, built to let trains cross above the Sankey Canal, has international significance as the world’s earliest major railway viaduct still in use.

The ‘Nine Arches’ signifies excellence in engineering that is still successful.  Our curriculum is designed to show our children that our ambitious curriculum will offer them rewards for the future. As a school, our curriculum sets high expectations for each and every child, meaning that we are relentless in our commitment to overcoming barriers faced by our pupils and to developing children to be resilient and self-motivated in their pursuit of learning.

With Christ at the heart and encompassing our Mission Statement, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” we provide a high-quality education within a creative, stimulating, encouraging and mutually supportive environment where children are enabled to develop the skills they require to become successful in Art and Design. 

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Through our ‘ambitious’ curriculum driver, we want our children to relish the challenges that being an artist can bring. Our art curriculum challenges and inspires pupils to create their own work of art by providing them with quality first teaching and resources. 

We challenge our children to think critically, observe and develop a secure understanding of art and design through our structure: Research, Experiment, Plan, Create and Reflect. Our children will feel confident in creating their own works of art. 

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Through the ‘resilience’ curriculum driver, we promote optimism and determination in art. We encourage the children to refine their skills through work in sketch books. We endeavour to ensure that all children have a positive relationship with Art and Design and speak openly and honestly about their experiences in order for us to meet them at their point of need. 

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With Christ at the heart of our school, every opportunity is made to take advantage of meaningful cross-curricular links, particularly in R.E. There are plentiful opportunities to engage with and respond to artwork that depict Jesus. 

We celebrate children's personal development in creativity, independence, judgement and self-reflection where all are encouraged to grow to their full human potential.

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At The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic Schools, we understand that happiness is linked to personal growth, health and development. We ensure our children are happy, healthy individuals. Our children know how art and design both reflect and shape our art, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation. 

Art lessons create a sense of calm and mindfulness when creating artwork. With ‘health and wellbeing’ as a curriculum driver, we give children the confidence to thrive in a diverse, global society and be respectful citizens with British and Christian Values at the core. 

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Through the ‘excellence’ curriculum driver, we want to equip our children with the knowledge and skills to research, experiment, plan, create and reflect their own works of art and craft whilst also developing their knowledge on how different artists and designers use these skills to create works of art that are appreciated by a wider audience. 

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Through the ‘success’ curriculum driver, we want our children to experience success in Art and Design regardless of their age or stage – through quality first teaching and careful planning of lessons. All our teachers teach with the aim to ensure pupils have sufficient knowledge to progress through primary school and beyond so that they leave St. Mary’s as successful artists ready for the next challenge at Key Stage 3. 

There are regular opportunities to celebrate and display their artwork through exhibitions, displays and competitions. We want our pupils to have a clear understanding of the link between achieving well and having goals for the future.

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Being an artist means that disciplinary and substantive knowledge complement each other harmoniously. Art disciplines such as sketching, painting, sculpture, craft are high profile within our art curriculum.


All of our children will have consistent access to a broad, balanced and high-quality Art and Design curriculum which will: 

  • Encourage forms of pupil creativity 
  • Engage, inspire and challenge pupils
  • Equip pupils with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design
  • Enable pupils to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design 
  • Have understanding and appreciation of how art and design both reflect and shape our history 
  • Have an understanding and appreciation of how art and design contributes to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation

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VALUED - We value vocabulary in art and design and it underpins everything we do.
IDENTFIED - Art and design vocabulary is identified by the art and design subject leader and is explicitly planned for.
TAUGHT - Vocabulary is explicitly taught in every lesson. Our knowledge organisers are used as a teaching tool for key art and design vocabulary and the art and design medium term plans include additional vocabulary to be taught.
APPLIED - Once vocabulary is taught, it is applied. Children apply their vocabulary in their speaking and listening, writing and assessment outcomes in art and design.
LEARNED - Vocabulary is revisited and relearned. Vocabulary sticks in the children’s long-term memory. Lesson by lesson, year by year, children revisit and relearn key art and design vocabulary.


Through an ‘explosion of experiences’, our youngest artists are exposed to the foundations of their art learning. Carefully planned art skills and experiences are provided for our children. High quality resources within our excellent provision gives the children a range of opportunities to refine their art skills: construction, craft, painting and junk modelling are just a handful of learning opportunities which are embedded within the provision daily. Art vocabulary is planned for. Staff are role models in demonstrating art vocabulary. The foundations of art learning in EYFS is linked to Year 1 and beyond. 


Both our staff and children are enthusiastic about art and design. Through ongoing CPD, we strive to ensure our teachers have expert knowledge of the art they teach. Our pedagogy is firmly based upon our curriculum intent of embedding concepts into long-term memory so that they can be recalled, to ensure substantive and disciplinary knowledge and skills can be applied fluently. 

The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic School’s model ensures that lessons are effectively sequenced so that new knowledge and skills build on what has been taught before and towards defined end points. In our sketchbooks, you will see different colour dots, these link to a specific part of the art and design process. This is helping us to become artists. 

We firmly believe that all children should have full access, including those with additional needs, to our art and design curriculum therefore lessons are scaffolded where appropriate in order to meet the needs of all our children.  


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We understand that we may not see the true impact of our art and design curriculum on our children as our art and design curriculum is just the beginning of a lifetime of learning. 

Our well-constructed and well-taught art and design curriculum leads to great outcomes. Our results are a reflection of what our children have learnt. At The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic Schools, our philosophy is that broad and balanced leads to great outcomes and meeting end points at the end of each key stage. National assessments are useful indicators of the outcomes our children achieve.  

We ensure all groups of children are given the knowledge and cultural capital they need to succeed in life. We strive to ensure that our children are equipped with the skills (through a growth mindset approach) to fluently be able to retrieve key facts from their semantic memory. 

The quality of our children’s work, at every stage, is of a high standard. All learning is built towards an end point and at each stage of their education, we prepare our children for the next stage. 

The impact of The Federation of St Mary’s Catholic Schools art and design curriculum is measured through the following: 

  • Assessment at the end of each unit of work (a completed piece of artwork)
  • Art exhibitions
  • Work is assessed at the end of each lesson and at the end of each sequence
  • Journey through sketchbooks to ensure children are refining technique
  • Pupil voice 
  • Progress evident in children’s books and record of experiences 
  • Seeking views of parents where appropriate

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